Although the patients had fewer symptoms five years after stopping the daily medication, Strunk cautions that doesn't mean that they can stop using asthma medications altogether or that their asthma is cured.
"While the kids did get better with age and didn't seem to need the medicine as much, laboratory measurements indicated that they were still having symptoms, and therefore were primed to an attack if they got a bad cold or were exposed to a significant weather change," Strunk said.
The researchers determined that continued benefit of these medications likely requires continued use.
"The conclusion is that some kids get better, but the doctor, family and the patient have to pay attention to the symptoms," Strunk said. "Some of the kids are going to need medicine, and they have to be honest about that possibility."
In another part of the follow-up study, researchers looked at long-term side effects of the steroid medications on growth, bone density and fracture rate. The only side effect of budesonide was a 0.4-inch decrease in height among female patients compared to the patients who took a placebo during the trial. However, one-fourth of the girls and more than half of the boys in the trial had not reached final adult height at the end of the post-trial period, researchers said. There were no effects of the nedocromil treatment on growth.
|Contact: Beth Miller|
Washington University School of Medicine